The OFT has a duty to protect the interests of consumers by ensuring the fitness of those holding or applying for consumer credit licences.
Following consultation last year, and an earlier compliance review of the market published in September 2010, the OFT has issued its revised Debt management (and credit repair services) guidance
The guidance sets out the standards the OFT expects from businesses engaged in debt management (and credit repair services) if they are to be considered fit to hold a licence.
The OFT has made a written submission to the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee's inquiry into Debt Management, and appeared before the committee to give oral evidence on 13 December 2011.
For more information on processing times for applicants seeking to engage in debt management or to provide debt advice services please see processing times for credit licence applications.
On 28 September 2010, the OFT published the findings of its review into industry compliance with the Debt Management Guidance (the Guidance). The Guidance, issued in December 2001 and updated in September 2008, sets out minimum standards for those consumer credit licensees which provide debt management services.
As part of the review the OFT found that:
The findings from the review will inform the OFT's future compliance strategy for the debt management industry and the findings report contains a detailed action plan for improving standards.
Download the Debt Management Guidance Compliance Review - Findings Report (pdf 592kb) and associated Mystery Shopping Report (pdf 764kb).
See press release OFT takes action to address widespread problems in debt management industry (28 September 2010).
If you are an adviser or third party organisation and you would like to complain to the OFT about the practices of those providing debt management services, such as Debt Management Companies and those providing advice and assistance with Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), please download and complete the complaint form (word file 120 kb) and return it to the OFT by post or email.
The OFT complaints evidence checklist (pdf 84 kb) may be helpful when dealing with complaints against traders who carry out any or all of the following activities when provided to debtors who are consumers or individuals under consumer credit agreements:
The Consumer Credit Act and regulations have changed as a result of implementation of the Consumer Credit Directive (CCD). Changes come fully into force on 1 February 2011. Details can be found on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) website (pdf).
Relevant OFT guidance will be updated in due course in the light of the CCD changes.
If you are a consumer and would like more information about dealing with debt and how to seek advice, view OFT1298 - Getting help with your debts (pdf 83kb).
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